Festival De Nouveau Cinema - Entry # 1

It's always a blast to cover this film fest and just like I did last year, I'll be updating this blog many times in the next few days with my take on some of the hottest titles playing in Canada's oldest film fest, Montreal's Le Festival De Nouveau Cinema. In fact the film fest hasn't even started yet but I was given a few screener DVDs to wet my appetite. At this year's fest I hope to get the same treats as I got last year. Every film fest has its fair share of surprises and this year's edition should be no exception.

The first film I saw was Nadav Lapid's Policeman, an Israeli film that knocked me out for a loop. The film tells of two stories. The first half has to do with Yaron, a hard working Israeli Police Officer with a pregnant wife and a sense of unequivocal fraternity amongst his unit. The second half of the movie is more political - a group of five young Left wing radicals decide to start a revolution to protest the vast difference between Israel's Rich and Poor societies. They want to create a new order in a country they see decimated by poverty. Both stories come together and converge into a thoughtfully carried out finale that consequentially ups the tension a notch. Also showing at the prestigious New York Film Festival, Lapid's film is one like no other. He shoots it with a bracing poet's eye, choosing the right shots and experimenting with the style a little. Here's a small budget movie made into a grandiose cinematic statement, I wouldn't be surprised if more people hear about it in the months to come.

Actress turned director Sarah Polley's followup to her -in my books overrated but- critically acclaimed 2006 debut Away From Here starts off in the same vein as her previous picture, simplistic storytelling and a narrative that doesn't really give us anything new but .. it changes in its last third into a kind of vision I never thought Polley had in her. Take This Waltz is a flawed picture that takes more than its fair share of chances as it goes along. Michelle Williams' Margo is married to a lovable shlub played by Seth Rogen yet she's not contently happy and almost taken aback when she meets the next door neighbour on a business trip and strikes a forbidden chord with him. You know a movie is doing something right when you can relate to some of its characters. The questions Polley raises are valid. Is love enough and worth keeping more than isolated sexual pleasure? Does desire trump love? Williams gives her usual impeccable performance and Rogen is not bad in one of his first dramatic roles. It's a film at war with itself, a kind of schizo mess that doesn't always work but takes chances that make it worth checking out. I think Polley is headed into the right direction but she's still a work in progress.